Welcome Spotlight Author Joy Lo-Bamijoko

Author PicA very warm welcome to “Spotlight” author Joy Lo-Bamijoko. Joy is a member of Rave Reviews Book Club.

Joy Nwosu was born in Enugu, Anambra State of south-eastern Nigeria. Her parents were Charles Belonwu and Deborah Nwosu. She is the fifth in rank of the seven children of her parents. Joy was born into a music family.

book-coverJoy, now retired, was a music teacher, trained in Santa Cecilia, Rome, and obtained her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Michigan, USA.

She has written and published extensively in national and international scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Her short story I Come from Utopia was published in African Voices, Spring/Summer, 2007, pg. 18, and her first English novel; Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women was published in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Contest in 2012. She has also two books published in Italian.

Joy is a trained musician, and taught music for 35 years.  She writes, performs, and records folk songs.

The Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies

Nigerian Death Legends Come Alive in ‘the Walking Dead

(An Excerpt): A Place Called Akajiana

cover2The next morning, Gloria and her son woke up in this hollow of a home to the smell of food. Here they could be themselves again, unseen by the natives, but visible to their own likes. They sat around a solid wooden table and ate a hearty breakfast of agidi, a light corn paste, and moi moi, fried bean balls, a meal heavy enough to carry them through the day. They washed everything down with fura di nunu, a drink made from guinea corn, goat milk, and brown sugar.

In answer to Gloria’s questions, Sister Aug explained that when a new person arrived, the person was automatically assigned to the one who’d found him or her. That was why Aug had taken charge of Gloria and her son.

“I have exceeded my time here and cannot escape,” she added. “When I came here, we weren’t organized. Everyone was afraid. Each person looked for a way out by themselves. Returning was practically impossible. Today, things have changed. We have people who go and come with ease. Some people like it here; I do. For many years, I tried to get out and failed. Eventually, I resigned myself to my fate and started to make the best of my life here. More fura?”

Gloria and her son declined more of the drink. “Fura is a meal by itself and can fill the belly too much when eaten with other foods,” Gloria said. “But what do you mean by exceeding your time here?” She turned her seat around to face Sister Aug with her full attention.

“My arrival here is still a mystery to me. I suppose that everybody’s arrival here can be quite mystifying, but that doesn’t make it less mysterious. I have heard people say that they came through a stream.”

“We did,” Osondu said. For a moment, he stopped doodling on the table and paid attention to the ladies’ conversation.

“You must tell me all about it someday, Little Brother O.” Sister Aug flashed him a big smile. “I simply lost my way. One minute, I was with my friends searching for wood, and the next, I stepped into a vortex. When it was over, I found myself here. I lost my friends and my friends lost me.”

“A vortex, eh? That’s probably why you can’t get out,” Gloria said.

“Not at all. When I found out that I could leave, I tried several times. But I failed. After seven years in this place, it was too late. I resigned myself to my fate and started liking it here.”

“What’s there to like about this place?” Gloria shuddered at the thought of having to stay. “Seven years … that’s an awfully long time.” Her face creased, and she stood up and walked to the entrance of Sister Aug’s home. She took a deep breath to quell her agitation, walked back again, and turned to Sister. “I want to leave here now, not in the next seven years,” she said in a strained voice while she clasped and unclasped her hands. “How did you survive this?”

“Wait until you know the place better and hear the whole story,” Sister Aug replied.

After they had cleared the dishes from the table and washed up, Sister Aug said she wanted to show them a place on a hill at the other side of the town. They followed her out of the forbidden forest, through a hidden passage, and a path overlapped, at the top, by tall bamboo trees with thick undergrowth. Only the dwellers knew and could travel this path. They stopped in front of a large wooden door. Sister Aug snapped her fingers three times. The door opened without a sound, they stepped outside into a well-lit area, and the door closed again.

Her New Book

The Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies, which has just been released, is a journey into the mysteries of life and death of the Igbos of Nigeria.  She loves reading romances and mystery stories.

Buy the B&N e-Pub version

Buy the B&N e-Pub version

To learn more about Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, visit her website at: sbprabooks.com/joynwosulobamijoko or read her blog at: http://goo.gl/L967yq

Interview with Joleene Naylor

joleene naylor 2WM had the opportunity to interview author Joleene Naylor, author of the Amaranthine vampire series. She describes the series as “glitterless” vampires. When she isn’t writing, Joleene designs book covers and is an amateur photographer.

Word Museum (WM): Thanks for chatting with us today, Joleene. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into writing in the first place?

Joleene Naylor (JN): Thanks for having me! My mother is a writer and poet, so writing always seemed normal to me, though I quit doing it for a few years. I got back into it so I could play with the “cool kids” in a Harry Potter Role Playing group. Jorick, the hero of the Amaranthine series, is actually based loosely on a side character – vampire ex-boyfriend of my main character – that I wrote in that RP group.

WM: What are some of your other interests? What do you do when you aren’t writing?

JN: Besides marketing my writing, I make book covers for other authors, illustrate a weekly web comic – The Terrible Turtle Conspiracy – and fancy myself an amateur photographer. And I’m supposed to be working on house renovations. When I’m not doing that, my ideas of fun include petting fuzzy cats, watching anime, or wandering around somewhere with my husband and taking a billion photos of the same thing from slightly different angles.

WM: Favorite season of the year and favorite thing about that season?

JN: Autumn wins, hands down. I love the temperatures, the gray cloudy days, the bright colors of the leaves, the misty rain, but most of all the damp, woodsy, dead leaf smell. It speaks of mysteries and hidden places.

WM: You call your vampire series “glitter-less”, which I thought was really clever. Tell us a little bit about your series…

JN:  Thanks! When I wrote the first book, Shades of Gray, in 2005 I’d read a bunch of books where plain Jane human meets a vampire, instantly believes in vampires (despite being a reasonable human being), falls in love in a minute, and becomes a kick-butt killer in five pages. Those stories annoyed me because it’s unrealistic. Sure, vampires are out there, but I’ve tried to add some realism into the world. Katelina meets Jorick and runs away with him (so to speak), but there are consequences: she loses her job, she loses her apartment, her mother reports her as a missing person, and when she goes to the hospital after a vampire attack the staff call the police.

While there is some romance, Amaranthine vampires aren’t tame romantic heroes – and none of them are going to high school. Even the nicest of the group is still a blood drinker and a killer. When life lasts forever, it becomes cheap.

1 - shades of gray - 250WM: You offer quite a few freebies and extras on your site for your readers. Can you tell us a little about some of those and what readers can find over at JoleeneNaylor.com?

JN: At the website readers can download wallpaper, print bookmarks, vote in polls, cruise through the character gallery (complete with artwork and bios), check out my author blog, and find the links for all the books and freebies. And yes, there are a lot of those. The Vampire Morsels collection features seventeen shorts about background characters. Heart of the Raven Mini-Prologue Collection sets the stage book five, Heart of the Raven. Tales from Island is a supplement to the sixth novel Children of Shadows and tells the stories of the characters while they’re on a tropical island vacation. And I’m currently working on theTales of the Executioners series. Right now it has stories available individually. Unfortunately most of the freebies aren’t on Amazon (because I want them to stay free!), but you can get the kindle versions from Smashwords.

WM: You mentioned that you also design book covers for others. What is your favorite thing about that type of work? Do you create your own covers?

JN: I think the best part is the authors I get to meet. I’ve made some good friends through book covers.

Yep! I do my own. They originally featured hand drawn characters, but I changed in 2012 to the current style. Since some of the fans liked the hand drawn covers better, I still make those for the Collector’s Editions of the paperbacks.

WM: How long does it take you to write one of the Amaranthine books from start to finish on average?

JN: If I were to knuckle down and just write – no DIYing in between, or book covers, or any of the rest of it – I could probably do it in six months including all the round of editing. But since that happy dream world eludes me, it’s usually about a year between books.

WM: What are you working on right now? What other projects do you have in the works?

JN: I have Patrick, a prequel, re-written and ready to edit. I have plans for more of the Tales of the Executioners stories, and there is a Jorick novel in planning stages, but at the moment I am doing to final touches on Masque of the Vampire, release date April 1st. When that’s done, I need to figure out Goddess of Night, the ninth and potentially final book in the series. And I need to get back to work on novels I’m writing with co-authors before they tar and feather me.

WM: What is the best advice you’ve ever received (writing or otherwise)?

JN: Use the delete key. As writers we sometimes think every word we pour out is gold, but it’s not. I find that if I delete at least 10,000 words from my final manuscript it’s much smoother. I can’t count the number of books I’ve read that would have been amazing if the author had deleted 12% of the useless fluff. Instead they were just “okay”.

WM: Do you have any favorite shows or books about vampires that you find smart and inspiring for your own work?

JN: Like many vampire lovers in my generation, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire was inspirational. Laurell K. Hamilton’s early books in the Anita Blake series were as well. In a roundabout way, a lot of the movies/shows/books I’d term bad also inspired me because they showed me what not to do: like making one dimensional characters, for instance.

WM: Anything you’d like to add?

JN: Thanks so much for having me, and for such awesome questions! Interested readers can get the first book in the series, Shades of Gray, free from all ebook retailers, or they can dip their toes into the free short stories first. Links to all of them can be found on my website at http://JoleeneNaylor.com.

Thank you for the interview, Joleene. WM wishes you the best of luck with your series.

Author Spotlight on Lori Soard

cupidscrossingI’ve known Lori Soard for forever, so when she mentioned she had a new book out, I thought it would be a great opportunity to interview her. She owns this site and has spent untold hours interviewing other authors and featuring them so I jumped at the opportunity to interview her.

As long as I’ve known Lori, she’s always been writing stories, spinning tales. She is one of those natural born story

Jen: Lori, tell us about Cupid’s Quest.

Lori: This is the first in my new series called Cupid’s Crossing. It is a contemporary inspirational romance. I adore the characters in this book, particularly Libby Henderson, who is in her 80s. Libby is always getting into trouble and most of the time it is pretty funny.

Blurb from Cupid’s Quest

Here is the blurb from the back cover of Lori’s newest novel:

The only life Gracie has ever known has been the nursing home and the residents who are like family to her. Now, she risks losing it all and her friends scattering to different homes if she can’t come up with the money to save the business.

Between caring for his ailing mother and running the family farm, Brandt is stretched thin. Too thin. When his mother begs him to enter a local scavenger hunt, win the prize money, and convert the farm into an orchard, he knows he can’t refuse her anything, so he reluctantly agrees.

While seeking clues to the scavenger hunt, Gracie and Brandt keep bumping into each other. Gracie’s always had a crush on him that keeps her from stringing two coherent words together. Brandt doesn’t understand why she dislikes him so much she won’t even talk to him. If the nursing home residents would settle down and stop getting into crazy shenanigans long enough, the two might figure out that they have more than a little in common.

You can probably see why I was so excited to read this book and Lori didn’t disappoint me. I loved it!

Jen: I’ve asked you before what inspires you to write different books, but what specifically inspired you on this one?

Lori: Libby. I “met” her first. I was at the grocery store and I helped this sweet little old lady who couldn’t reach something on a top shelf. It got me to thinking about what would happen if a little old lady wasn’t so sweet in a grocery store. And, from that, Libby was born. You would think my main characters would be the heart of this series, but it is actually Libby Henderson. She will appear in future books, too.

Jen: What are you working on?

Lori: I am working on Book # 2 in the Cupid’s Crossing series. It is Sinclaire’s story. You’ll meet her in Book # 1. Sinclaire is broken and it is going to be tough for her to be healed enough to love again. Her book will be called Change of Heart. The theme of this book is all about redemption and second chances. It is about how much Christ can change a person, too.

Jen: I know you are a lover of animals. Tell readers about your pets.

Lori: I have a miniature dachshund named Maya. She is really my daughter’s dog, but when Caitlin went away to college she bonded with us very strongly. She is my baby. She lays by my side all day, sleeps with us, and even went on vacation with us recently.

Jen: What advice do you have for new writers?

Lori: Don’t give up. If you simply must write, just keep writing, keep sending your work out into the world, and keep telling your stories.

Jen: Any other thoughts?

Lori: My goal with each story is to reach some reader in some small way. I don’t write for the masses but for that one reader whose perspective can be changed. If God can use my writing ability to plant a seed, then I’ve fulfilled His purpose for me.

I want to thank Lori for agreeing to this interview. She was reluctant at first since she said she started this site to help feature other writers and get news to readers, but she has a lot of fans out there, so I know you’d all appreciate her perspective. She said to tell you all to connect with her on social media. She loves to chat with her readers.

Get your copy of Cupid’s Quest. I promise you’ll love it as much as I did.